Chapek’s moving Disney toward the sports betting arena. Get ready for the new era of a HIGH STAKES DISNEY!

New restaurant at EPCOT? Check.

Increased prices for Disney World annual passes? Check.

A massive celebration to honor the 50th anniversary of Disney World’s opening that keeps unveiling surprise after surprise? Check.

Space 220

Credit: Disney

Better COVID numbers in Florida heading into the spring? Check.

Brand new rise in ticket prices? Check.

We saw all of these things coming, but Disney becoming a bookie? The entertainment giant serving as a platform for sports wagering and betting?

Nope. We didn’t see that one coming. But that’s exactly what Bob Chapek has up his sleeve for his next trick, as he shared in September 2021, during the Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference, with a group of investors.

Bob Chapek

Credit: Disney

Chapek, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, told the group of investors that Disney is looking at building deeper relationships and licensing partnerships with gambling operators through ESPN, which serves as Disney’s sports broadcasting powerhouse.

ESPN currently features some betting lines during games that are broadcast through its network, and points spreads are included during some games as well. Deeper relationships with those operators will allow Disney more opportunities to “get in on the action.”

ABC, which is also owned by Disney, does similar things during some of its sports broadcasts as well.

“There’s a long way between ’embedded into the ESPN’ business model and licensing out,” Chapek explained to the audience. “Let’s just say that our fans are really interested in sports betting. Let’s say that our partners — with the leagues — are interested in sports betting. So we’re interested in sports betting.”

Sounds like more of that “Guest-demand-at-Disney-Parks-type-thing” that was discussed during the company’s most recent earnings call in August. The earnings call earlier this month was so much about all the money Disney has made. However, during the recent fourth-quarter earnings call, Chapek did talk about the role demand plays in Disney’s business model.

RELATED: Get ready to pay more for a fan-favorite Disney experience

It’s hard to think of Disney–one of the most family-oriented of the Fortune 500 companies as a partner in gambling operations. However, there’s big money in sports wagering, and Disney is continually reimagining ways to boost revenue, meaning Disney as a bookie could soon be more of a reality than just an idea.


About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!